SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

Let There Be Light.

Today we take switching on the light and the many other household appliances for granted.
A power failure, even for a few hours brings modern life to a halt.
Yet, so far as Skelton in Cleveland is concerned, the first Electric lights appeared in our streets only in 1910 and the first ones lit by Gas in 1878.
In 1915 only 315 Skelton houses had electric lighting.
Prior to this the only form of lighting was the open fire, the oil lamp, which has existed in various forms for countless thousands of years and the candle of early Roman invention, 500BC.
I have tried to show in this webpage, with documented examples in chronological order, how lighting with Gas and Electricity came to Skelton.
1807 - The very first British gas lights and Gas Company appeared in London, but it would take a long time for the idea to spread nation-wide and especially to country areas. Eventually many Gas Companies opened.
1817 -Samuel Clegg developed the gas meter.
1824 - Tate invented the telescopic gasholder.
1870 - T S Lacey patented the first prepayment gas meter.
The first example I have found mentioning Skelton shows that nearby Redcar beat us to it.
1870.
12th July - RIFLE VOLUNTEERS.
Yesterday 4 Companies of the North Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteers 18th [Skelton], 20th [Guisbrough], 19th [Stokesley], numbering 200 men held Battalion drill in a field near the Gas Works at Redcar . The Guisborough Band was in attendance.
In fact Skelton was years behind other local, more populated places. Stockton was first to have Gas and lighting in 1822, followed by Whitby [1827], Darlington, [1830], Hartlepool [1836] and Middlesbrough [1838], Guisborough [1852], Redcar[1857], Brotton[1868] and each place seemingly had its own Gasworks.
John G Hannah of East Cleveland Image Archive informs us-:
I can confirm that Brotton certainly had a Gasworks in 1876 (details are included in one of Simon Chapmans Ironstone Mine books on the Brotton Mines).
The Gas works were on Coach Road, close to Morrisons Mine (Robert Morrison developed the ironstone mine on Coach Road) - so called as it was the private drive for his house 'Brotton Grange' - his ironstone mine was almost in the yard of Grange Farm next door to the Grange and the Gas works were in the same area.
1874.
29th December - THE CLEVELAND GAS COMPANY FORMED.
A bill was presented to incorporate the Cleveland Gas Company and enable them to construct gas works and light with gas Skelton and other places in the North Riding.
The Company wanted to take over the powers granted to the Lofthouse Gas Co but on which nothing had been done.
The capital is to be £50,000 in £10 shares and the first directors will be J T Wharton, Francis Fox, William Cockburn, John George Swan, and Edward Bell Hamilton.
Gas works were constructed at Skinningrove.
Coal, the 'black diamond', was loaded into a large container called a retort or coking oven and heated without air. It emitted coal gas and coal tar.
The latter is composed of many useful chemicals and the residue tar was used for road making.
What was left in the oven was almost pure carbon, called coke, that was used in the nearby steel works. The gas was purified and fed into the supply to consumers, with the surplus stored in a Gasholder.
In a country area like ours the creation of miles of gas tight pipelines, without the aid of modern machinery must have been a gigantic task.
And in this period when the Victorians changed our world, it was going on alongside similar work on new water supplies, sewerage systems etc.
Early gas pipes were generally made of cast iron with socket and spigot joints which were packed with hemp and sealed with molten lead. Today, gas pipes are made from polyethylene or, for higher pressures, welded steel. At Skelton a local storage Gasholder was located at Claphow.

Skinningrove Gas Works and Gasholder.
The building with the tall chimney to the Left is the Gasworks. Railway lines passed close to the far side to collect Tar.

1878.
2nd October - FIRST GASLIGHTS.
Daily Gazette - "On Monday night the streets were lighted for the first time with gas. The gas is from the mains of the Cleveland Gas Company, whose works are situated at Skinningrove."


Skelton's Gasholder. George Payne stood in front and Bryan Payne on top.


Skelton's Gasholder. Bryan Payne Left and Arthur Payne Right, probably with Grandmother.

The Gasholder was situated to the left on the road towards Lingdale, between the two railway bridges that carried the lines to Brotton and beyond and to North Skelton Mine and Saltburn.
The 1939 Register gives George Payne at No 6 Catherine St Lingdale, occupation Gas Works Labourer.
Bryan recollects that the family moved to the Gas House when he was one year old, possibly late 1939 or early 1940.
Bryan left in 1956 and the family left in 1966 when George would have been 65 years of age.
Bryan recalls being sent down the field to count the number of plates showing which would give a rough estimate of the gasholders contents.
[Photographs above and below and information on the Paynes kindly contributed by Howard Wilson of Skelton and the local History Society.]
Owen Rooks, who lived in New Skelton at the time adds:-
I knew the Payne children - they all went to North Skelton school and walked to and fro each day from the Gas House via Wet Furrows Farm.
Doreen, born 1936 Qtr 3 Guisborough register, was the eldest and she moved on to Stanghow Lane not long after I started at North Skelton in Jan 1947.
Bryan, born 1938 Qtr 3 Cleveland register, came next and he too moved to Stanghow Lane in about 1949. Unusually for the time and place, Bryan had a career as a dancer in holiday resorts around the UK and the Mediterranean.
The youngest child was Arthur, born 1941 Qtr 3 Middlesbrough register, and he was in my class at North Skelton.
As you say, George was the father, born 1901 and he married Ethel J Codling born 1896 in Qtr 4 1929.
The Gas House was at the top of the area on which the gas holder stood, marked on your website map as “four squares within a square” and accessed by the railway crossing adjacent to Wet Furrows.
It’s still there and looks as though it may have been enlarged over the years. The present owners have opened a 5CL caravan site and it’s now named 'Pasture House', with access now directly off the road opposite Claphow Cottages.
The location of the gas holder was out of the way; perhaps it was central to the area being linked to the original gas supply, maybe to reduce its visual impact or for safety reasons in case of leakage.
I used to go up and down that road often and the stench of gas between the two bridges was unbelievable; the folk living at Claphow had to live with it daily!


Claphow Double Bridges.
More information can be found at the bottom of page for 1873.

Claphow Double Bridges.
Above photograph appears to have temporary wooden supports and this one later ballast.

Section of the 1894 Ordnance Survey Map.

In the same field as the Gasholder [which, I am informed, is the correct term rather than Gasometer] was the Gas House, where the Paynes in the photograph above lived.
At the 1901 census it was occupied by a Matthew Ingram, aged 54, Engineman Gas Attendant, with his wife Margaret and 2 grandchildren, Claude and Clifford Hillman.
The Parish Rate Book of 1913 shows the Cleveland Gas Co paid £184 for 'Gas Works [part of] and Main' and the Gas House was occupied by Moses Wright, who paid £5 15s.
Stanghow Cottages, on the other side of the Stanghow Road, were owned by the North East Railway Company and occupied by their workers.
In 1901 these were:-
No 1 - Alfred M Munroe, born 1869, Railway Signalman.
No 2 - John Bradley, born 1852, Platelayer on Railway.
No 3 - John Embleton, born 1867, Railway Signalman.
No 4 - John Smith, born 1859, Platelayer on Railway.
At 1911 census only occupant of No 1 had changed to Thomas Hodgson.
Further back towards Boosbeck at the junction of the lines there was a Signal Box to change the points to direct trains to either Brotton and beyond or North Skelton Ironstone Mine and the line to Saltburn and beyond.

Gradually gas was installed in dwellings, with a gas meter to pay for it.
I remember even in the 1950s there was a workable gas light in one of the bedrooms at 153 High St, Skelton.
And needing often a "bob", one shilling, [5 new pence] for the Gas meter.
1881.
14th January - SKELTON COFFEE PALACE.
An important addition has recently been made to the various amusements at the Skelton Coffee Palace in the shape of a new bagatelle table, which has been presented by J T Wharton Esq at a cost of £20.
The rooms were opened some 2 years ago to meet a "felt want". Refreshments are supplied at cheap rates. There is a smoke room, chess, draught and dominoes and a well-supplied Reading room.
There is also a covered shed for quoit playing which is lighted with gas every evening. We are sorry to learn that so far the scheme has been financially a failure.

1885.
5th September - LOCAL DOGS CELEBRATE - MORE GAS LAMP POSTS.
At the Skelton and Brotton Board meeting a letter was read from the
Skinningrove Gas Company offering to light the lamps from the 1st September to the 30th April for the sum of £2 7s 6d [£2 35.5p] per lamp.
Mr Calow said:- "That is 3s 6d per lamp more than Brotton."
The Clerk explained that the extra cost was in consequence of the great outlay incurred in bringing the gas to Skelton.
It was resolved to ask the Gas Company to erect additional lamps in the public streets at New Skelton.

1887. - The incandescent gas mantle was invented by Carl Auer. Prior to that lights were just the open flame.

1888.
8th September - GAS LIGHTS AT 2 BOB A TIME.
At the meeting of the Skelton and Brotton Board it was resolved to light public lamps on the same terms as before - viz 2s 2d per lamp for Brotton and 2s 5d for Skelton, the period of lighting being from September 20th to April 20th.

Gas lights in Skelton High Street.

1898.
CHURCH ROOMS BUILT. [at the bottom of Green Road.]
Parish Magazine -
Through the kind thoughtfulness and generosity of the Squire, this most useful building has been erected and placed at the disposal of the Church for Sunday School, Band of Hope and other meetings.
Until now the Church had no place of its own, with the exception of the Drill Hall, which was allowed free for the Boys' Sunday School.

The building measures 50 ft by 22 ft inside and is divided into two rooms by a moveable partition.
The partition is constructed of leaves 3ft broad, which can be unshipped in a few moments and used for table tops.
The place is lighted with incandescent gas lights and comfortably warmed by means of two tortoise stoves.
The Green and Skelton Mother's Meetings have an amalgamated mothers' meeting on Wednesday afternoons - entrance by the North door out of the Infant's School.
The Boys' Sunday School meets here at 9.45 and 1.45.


1899.
20th December - SHOEMAKER SMASHED GAS LAMPS.
Harry Barwick, a shoemaker, was charged with breaking several lamp glasses, the property of the Cleveland Gas Company, at Skelton on the 3rd December.
He was ordered to pay 7s 6d damage, £1 fine and costs - in all £2 0s 6d.

1902.
1st July - RAILWAY STATION OPENED AT LAST - HOLLYBUSH STILL IN THE DARK.
Parish Magazine -
The Railway Station is rapidly approaching completion, but it is necessary to give public access to it.
The oil lamps are somewhat primitive and remind one of the dark ages, but they no doubt will give place to something more cheerful when our Urban Council has completed its plan with regard to Holly Bush Lane and the lighting thereof. [the station house and Hollybush Farm would then be the only dwellings.]

1906.
17th October -
ELECTRICITY COMING TO THE MINES.
It is stated that the Cleveland and Durham Electric Power Co Ltd propose to erect overhead wires, which will permit all the Mines in Cleveland tapping into an Electricity supply.
A double pole line is to be run from the Company's power station at Grangetown to Spawood, from whence the two lines will spread out, one going in a northerly direction by Skelton and Brotton to Skinningrove and the other continuing almost due East to Lingdale and from thence to Loftus, where it will be linked up with the northern line.
The two pole lines are so designed that in the event of one breaking down, the other will continue the supply. The system is to be laid out for a maximum load of 6,000 kilowatts and calculated to be completed in 7 months.

1907.
The age of Gas street lighting did not last long in Skelton -
June - ELECTRICITY COMING.
Parish Magazine.:-
"The electricians and their assistant workmen have laid their cable through our villages and we suppose the roadway for the transmission of electricity is about complete.
The Company who have laid the cable are prepared to supply the power in large quantity and at high pressure, at wholesale prices, but they leave it to the local authorities of the places they pass through to make arrangements to supply ordinary customers with small quantities and at lower pressure at retail prices.
Guisborough is, we understand, taking steps to do this and we have heard something of a transformer station at Slapewath."

A Street Gas light gave illumination that, it is said, was equivalent only to a modern 25 watt electric bulb and initially they had to be switched on at dusk and lit by the local Lamplighter. - and off again at daybreak.
Skelton it appears had in 1908 a Lamplighter who was moonlighting into more nefarious occupations.
1908.
13th March - LIGHT-FINGERED LAMPLIGHTER.
Charles A Wright, a lamplighter of Skelton, was charged with breaking and entering the shop in Wharton St, North Skelton, in the occupation of Arthur Suddick Shepherd and stealing the sum of £4 6s 3d.
According to the evidence Mr Shepherd locked up his shop safely on Saturday and left part of the money in the till, under the counter.
When he returned on the following morning, the shop was still locked, but he found that the till had been opened and the money gone.
Defendant was in his shop on Saturday and saw the assistant, Arthur Lack, looking under the counter.
Defendant asked Lack what he was looking for and Lack said some silver in a tin.
When apprehended by PC Hutchings, on Sunday, defendant stated that he got into the shop with a key, which he had found near Shepherd's coal depot.
He had put the money in a stable at Skelton, where the policeman had found it.
He also found the key in a field where Wright had said he had thrown it.
Mr Hoggett, for the defence, said he was sorry the Magistrates could not deal with the case there as it was one in which the Probation of Offenders could well be used.
Defendant had been led away by bad companions and by reading trashy literature, with which his mind had become saturated.
Wright was committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, bail being allowed, himself in £10 and 2 sureties of £10 each. This was forthcoming.

Old Pre-payment, Shilling in the Slot, Gas Meter.

1908.
22nd May - NOWT IN THE GAS METER AND NOWT TO SAY.
Thomas Hall, a labourer of North Skelton, was charged with breaking into 11 Randolph St, Saltburn, the property of the North Eastern Railway Company on the 9th May.
Tom Fletch, a locomotive foreman, said that Hall was not employed by the Railway Company and had no right to be on the premises.
Miss Laura Pollard said that she lived next door to the house in question and on the 9th Hall came to her house about 9 o'clock and asked for the key of their door stating that he had to lift some floor boards at No 11.
She gave him the key and he returned, saying that it did not fit and then took a ladder from her yard and went up to the bathroom window, by which he entered the house.
In about 10 minutes he returned and asked for the loan of a cold chisel, or a piece of iron, by which to lift the flooring boards.
She gave him the piece of iron, which was produced in Court.
When arrested by Sgt Marwood, Hall said that he broke open the gas meter, but found no money in it.
When charged he had nothing to say and was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions.
1910.
4th February - FIRST ELECTRIC STREET LIGHTS.
Placed in the High St.

1912.
22nd November - SKELTON AND BROTTON ELECTRIC LIGHTING.
London Gazette.
(The Production, Storage and Supply of Electricity by the Urban District Council of Skelton and Brotton within their District: the Breaking Up and Interference with Streets and Railways; the Laying Down and Erection of Electric Lines, Wires, Posts and Apparatus; the Taking and Recovering of Rates and Charges; Incorporation of Acts; and other Provisions.)
Notice is hereby given, that the Urban District Council of the urban district of Skelton and Brotton, in the North Riding of the county of York (hereinafter called "the Council"), and whose address is at the office of the surveyor of the Council, High-street, Skelton, intend to apply to the Board of Trade, on or before the 21st day of December next, for a Provisional Order (hereinafter Lighting Acts, 1882 to 1909, for all or some of the following amongst other purposes (that is to say) :—
1. To authorize the Council to generate and supply electricity for all public and private purposes as deemed by the Electric Lighting Acts within the whole of the urban district of Skelton and Brotton, in the North Riding of the county of York aforesaid (hereinafter referred to as "the Area of Supply "), and to enable the Council to enter into or carry into effect any contract, agreement or arrangement with the Cleveland and Durham Electric Power Company for the supply by such Company to the Council of electricity in bulk.
To authorize the Council within the urban district of Guisborough, in the North Riding of the county of York, for the purpose of enabling electricity to be brought into the area of supply from a generating station situated outside the area of supply, and for the purpose of supplying from any such generating station and distributing electricity within the area of supply, and otherwise for effecting the purposes of the Order, to open, break up and interfere with all streets, roads, ways, footpaths or public passages or places, and to alter or interfere with mains., pipes, sewers, subways, tunnels, wires, tubes, apparatus, matters and things therein or thereunder, and to break up or otherwise interfere with railways and tramways and to lay down, set up, maintain, use, repair, remove, renew and alter all such cables, wires, posts, pipes, tubes, casings, troughs, inspection boxes and apparatus as may be necessary or convenient for carrying out the objects aforesaid or any of them.
To authorize the Council to break up the following streets, not repairable by the local authority and bridges and railways, viz.:—
Old Skelton — Road leading to the Old Church and Skelton Castle, Wood's-yard, Robinson's Yard, Robinson-street, Dixon-street, Yeoman street, Road to Skelton Castle, Road from Faughfield-lane to North Skelton Station and Elliott-street, Skelton Green.
In Old Skelton — The bridge over the Saltburn and Whitby Branch of the North-Eastern Railway at the end of Faughfield-lane.
The two bridges carrying the Guisborough and Saltburn Branch of the North-Eastern Railway over the road known as Stanghow-lane leading from New Skelton to Lingdale.
In North Skelton - The two bridges carrying the Guisborough and Saltburn and the Saltburn-and Whitby Branches of the North-Eastern Railway over the road leading from North Skelton to Brotton.
The names of the streets in which it is proposed that electric lines shall be laid down within a period to be specified by the Order are as follows: —
The main road from Cross Green, Skelton,through New Skelton, North Skelton, and Brotton, to the boundary of the urban district at Carlin How....

30th September - CHEAP ELECTRICITY IN HOUSES.
At North Skelton, in Cleveland, arrangements have been made to have Electric Light installed at very cheap rate in a large number of cottages.

1914.
27th March - SWITCH ON TO ELECTRIC LIGHTING.
A Local Board of Inquiry met at North Skelton Institute to consider the Council's application to borrow £9,250 to defray the cost of installing the electric light in the district.
There had been meetings throughout the area and a practically unanimous vote in favour of electric lighting, but Mr C T Trevor, solicitor and Mr R W Stevenson attended to object on behalf of some ratepayers of Brotton and Skelton.
It was the Councils intention to repay the money over a period of years or the whole expenditure could be met by an extra rate of 1s 8d in the £ for one year.
The rate last year was 2 shillings in the £ because important Sewage work had to be paid for, but prior to that it had been no more than one shilling.
The Council preferred the loan idea so that people who used the lights in the future would pay rather than the ratepayers of the present time.
Mr Trevor said that he preferred electrict lighting to gas, but Mr Stevenson said many prominent property owners were satisfied with gas and were against the proposals.
Mr May, electrical engineer from London, said it was intended to have steel instead of wooden poles in the village.
There was an amazing quantity of electricity used for lighting in both North Skelton and Carlin How. Charges would be three and a half pence per unit and £2 5s per village lamp and there would be a surplus profit of £31.
He suggested certain costs should be met immediately by the rates and £8,500 borrowed over 20 years. Mr D W Dixon, Chairman of the Council agreed.

1915.
2nd July - 315 HOUSES HAVE ELECTRICITY.
It was reported at the local board meeting that 315 consumers were now on the Electric lighting system and there were 416 public lamps.
4th December - WAR BLACK-OUT - "KEEP THE LIGHTS ON".
The First World War and the fear of bombing by Zeppelins, which had attacked the Norfolk coast in January and killed 4 people, meant black-out regulations were in force. At the council meeting the absence of public lights was discussed. Mr Ranson spoke of the dangers to pedestrians, as accidents were frequent, and suggested that at this time of year hostile airmen were not likely to visit the coast.
He suggested that the lamps should be kept burning up to 9.30 every night. Carried by 8 votes to 6.

1916.
5th February - ELECTRIC LIGHTING COMMITTEE.
It was advised to appoint Mr George Dixon as Engineer and Manager at a monthly salary of £14 15s to include provision of an office, motor car and telephone service.
Mr T Railton, as Linesman, at wages of 9d an hour, with a minimum payment of £1 5s weekly, plus a War allowance of 1s.
Mr George Goodwill, as Clerk and Collector, at wages of 32s, plus a War allowance of 2s, to include provision of a bicycle.
On the subject of street lighting a letter was read from Superintendent Rose saying tht he had no objection to a few lamps being lighted at different points, provided these were not visible from the sea and were properly obscured.
The Chairman said that as only 14 were to be allowed out of a total of 416, it would be better to do without any lights at all.
8th April - ELECTRICITY COSTS PEGGED.
The Council could not agree to the Cleveland Electric Power Company increasing the charge by 15 percent, just because the cost of production had gone up.

11th April - "THE GERMANS MAY SEE THE LIGHT" - "*+$%+ OFF."
Several cases under the Lighting Regulations were before the Guisborough Justices today.
Arthur Pinkney, of the Bull's Head Hotel, North Skelton and Kate Goodall, a servant, were proceeded against. Special Constables Bell and Page observed a bright light in Pinkney's upstairs window.
They called upon Pinkney, who came to the door and they invited him to come out on to the road and to see the light, but he said:-
"To *+$%* with you and the light." and slammed the door.
Kate pleaded guilty, but Pinkney said the prosecution was a little revenge, malice and jealousy on the part of the Constables.
He was out of the house at the time and the maid had left the light on. A child was ill and she rushed upstairs to get some clothing and forgot to turn off the light.
The constable came to the door like bulls and perhaps he answered rather roughly.
The case against Kate was dismissed, but Pinkney was given a large fine of £5 5s, 10 shillings of which was to go to the expense of the Special Constables.
It was not easy to get Special Constables to undertake the disagreeable duty of looking after the protection of life and property in these places, observed Sir Alfred Pease, and it is too bad they should be received in the way Pinkney treated them.

1917.
30th March - BLOCK ALL LIGHTS.
James Gott, a miner of Skelton Green was fined 10 shillings for not having obscured a light in his house on the 17th March.

1918.
5th January - BOMBING THREAT RECEDES.
It was decided that application be made to the Police Authorities for permission to have some of the public street lamps lighted during the early part of the evenings.

1928.
21 December. BROTTON GAS COMPANY TAKEN OVER.
London Gazette.
(Application for Special Order under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920.) Notice is hereby given that application is intended to be made to the Board of Trade by the Cleveland Gas Company (hereinafter referred to as " the Company ") whose principal office is at Skinningrove, Carlin How, in the North Riding of the County of York for a Special Order (hereinafter referred to as " the Order ") under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act 1920 for all or some of the following purposes (that is to say): —
1. To empower the Company to acquire the portion of the undertaking of the Brotton Gas Light and Coke Company Limited (hereinafter called " the Brotton Company ") within the part of the Parish of Brotton in the Urban District of Skelton and Brotton hereinafter described.....


1931.
27th October - ELECTRICITY IN HOMES - COUNCIL MEETING.
Local Electricity Companies had started just before the First World War. By this time in Britain as a whole about a third of homes had it installed.
But relative to incomes Electricity cost 10 times more than it does today.
Mr M Kirkbright [Brotton] presided at the monthly meeting of the Skelton and Brotton UDC, held in the village Institute, North Skelton.
The Electrical Engineer, Mr R L Hewling, reported the number of consumers as 2,025 at the end of May as against 2,021.
A total of 579 lamps was authorised for public lighting and work in connection with the change of pressure scheme was proceeding satisfactorily.

1934.
8th March -
SKELTON GASHOLDER REPAIRS.
The Cleveland Gas Company show a total credit balance of £5,034 for the current half year.
It is understood that £200 is to be used on repairs to the Skelton Gasholder.

2nd May.
APARTMENTS TO LET - GASHOUSE.
Terms moderate; near the sea and the moor. Apply Watson. Gashouse, Claphow, Skelton. Cleveland. Tel.- Skelton 10.

1939.
5th July - THE BALLOON WENT UP AND THE LIGHTS WENT OUT.
A barrage balloon [they were large balloons tied down by long metal cables to deny airspace to enemy aircraft. 1,400 were used over London in 1940 and forced German bombers to fly higher] broke loose from its moorings at RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire. It drifted in a North Easterly direction, the trailing cable causing considerable damage as it passed over Yorkshire.
It floated via Boston, Lincs and Hull, where it broke chimneys, telephone and radio relay wires, crossing the Humber at 1000 feet.
The electrical engineer of the Skelton and Brotton Council, Mr R L Hewling, said - "The lights in the Brotton and Carling How district went out about 9 pm. Cinema shows were brought to a standstill and the power supplies to the Loftus and Skelton Mine were cut off for a time." It fouled wires between Lingdale and Skelton and between North Skelton and Skinningrove and near the railway at Lumpsey Mine.
It was watched at Saltburn and Redcar by large crowds of holiday makers, who thought it was part of some military operations.
RAF stations were on the alert as after it drifted out to sea at Redcar, weather predictions suggested it could head inland again for Southern Scotland.
Where it ended up is not known.

1940.
German bombing and the consequent Black-out showed just how much people had become accustomed to street and home lighting.
31st January - SECOND WORLD WAR - DO NOT DRIVE AT OVER 20 MPH IN THE WAR BLACKOUT.
Motorists who drive at over 20 miles per hour in the black out will be stopped by a Policeman wearing white coats and waving red torches shoulder high
When this speed limit is in force tomorrow, motorists must travel at a speed which will enable them to pull up within their range of vision.
Police cars would patrol at 20mph and if a car overtook them they would be "gonged"
At 20mph a driver could see a pedestrian in 47 feet. If not he was not fit to be driving at night. Motorists should gauge their speed "by ear".
It was not legal to flick on the dashboard light.

2nd February - LET THERE BE A LITTLE LIGHT - AT LEAST.
Board meeting - Shift workers in the Mines and Works of East Cleveland, who are usually up for their work before dawn will be pleased to know that there is the possibility of subdued street lighting being allowed in the area. Mr R L Hewling, the electrical engineer to the Skelton and Brotton Council is keen to introduce modified lighting as soon as permission can be obtained.
If the Government is prepared to make a concession to coastal regions Skelton and Brotton should get consent.
One of the essential stipulations is that Lighting should be centrally controlled, so that it can be switched off immediately an air raid warning is sounded.
This district was the pioneer of the introduction of Electricity and already has this capability.

30th April - SKELTON DRUNKS BLACKED OUT.
When William Hume, aged 58, of Zetland Rd, Skinningrove was charged at Guisborough today with being drunk and disorderly at North Skelton, he said -
"I can only plead the black-out".
According to the evidence said Mr H Dales, the Chairman of the Bench, you were "completely blacked out inside" - and fined him 5 shillings [25p]

19th December - DO NOT WALK THE WHITE LINE IN THE BLACK-OUT.
The Cleveland Coroner issued this warning to pedestrians at the inquest into the death of a 68 year old man, John Thomas of Bolckow St, North Skelton.
He died in Brotton Hospital on December 13th after being knocked down by a car at North Skelton on the night of November 30th.
Walter W Walshaw of Handale Farm, Loftus said that he was driving from Brotton to New Skelton.
"I had just got past the Workmen's Club at North Skelton, when I saw a figure in front of me, which appeared to stagger in front of the car.
I applied the brakes and swung further to my own side of the road, but hit him with my offside bumber."
Verdict - laceration of the brain as result of motor accident.

Electricity gradually replaced Gas during the first half of the 20th Century for street and home lighting, but Gas heating, the Gas oven and various forms of Gas boiler etc transformed heating, cooking and bathing in homes.
When I was a lad in the 1940/50s Skelton had a Gas Shop and Showroom at the top of Dixon St on the right hand side as it meets the High St.
A few doors down at the top of Robinson St, on the Church side, we had the Electric Shop and showrooms.

1947.The electrical power industry in the United Kingdom was nationalised by the Electricity Act 1947, when over six hundred electric power companies were merged into twelve area boards.
The Skelton and Brotton Electricity undertaking was merged with many others into the North Eastern Electricity Board.

1949. Nationalisation of the gas industry.

Skinningrove Gasworks after closure.
[Photograph kindly contributed by Chris Twigg of East Cleveland's Industrial Heartland site.]

1964. Skinningrove Gasworks closed.

1964. First shipment of natural gas from Algeria arrived in Britain.

1965. After large quantities natural gas were discovered off the coast of Yorkshire in 1965, the gas industry decided to supply this gas direct to consumers rather than use it to make manufactured gas. However, natural gas, which is predominantly methane, has very different burning properties from manufactured gas (mainly hydrogen and carbon dioxide). It was therefore necessary to adapt or replace every gas appliance in Britain, of which there were around 20 million, in a conversion process which started in 1967 and took ten years to complete.

1986. Privatisation of the gas industry, creating British Gas plc.

1990. North Eastern Electricity Board privatised and renamed Northern Electric.

1993. The land where Skinningrove Gasworks had stood was reclaimed by Langbaurgh Borough Council using Derelict Land Grant.

1997. British Gas plc split into Centrica and BG Group.


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